So I've been compiling a list of fictional (anime/manga) characters which meet a certain criteria (http://www.gwern.net/hafu#list) from a universe of all anime/manga characters since 1963 (which is of unknown total size - but very large!), and I've been wondering how I could estimate how complete my list is at any point.
My final goal is to slice the character data and look for trends by year or decade; getting an idea of how large my sample actually is may help me estimate systematic bias. If I've gotten a large fraction of estimated characters, then I can hope that any decade trends may be real and not just a case of 'looking under the lamppost'.
What sort of techniques would be useful here? I've looked, and "capture-recapture" seems like an answer (especially reading Predicting total number of bugs based on number of bugs revealed by each tester )
But I'm not clear whether it really applies here. What would a "recapture" be, in my scenario? Would I have to keep track of every Google search or Google Alerts result or list of hafu characters I run into, and write down whether each entry was already present in my master list? Are there assumptions in capture-recapture that aren't satisfied here?
UPDATE: since no one replied yea or nay, I went ahead and did it:
- results: http://www.gwern.net/hafu#corpus-estimation-result
- data & source code: http://www.gwern.net/hafu#capture-recapture-code